SLAC topics

Energy sciences RSS feed

One of the most urgent challenges of our time is discovering how to generate the energy and products we need sustainably, without compromising the well-being of future generations by depleting limited resources or accelerating climate change. SLAC pursues this goal on many levels.

Studies of atomic-level processes

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Topological insulators conduct electricity on their surfaces but not through their interiors. SLAC scientists discovered that high harmonic generation produces a unique signature from...

A counterclockwise pattern of swirling arrows This pattern of arrows representing the combined spin and momentum of electrons in the surface layer of a topological insulator
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Spawned by the spins of electrons in magnetic materials, these tiny whirlpools behave like independent particles and could be the future of computing. Experiments...

Illustration of skyrmions -- little whirlpools of magnetism formed by the spins of atoms.
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Much like crystallizing rock candy from sugar syrup, the new method grows 2D perovskites precisely layered with other 2D materials to produce crystals with...

Illustration of layers of 2D materials assembling themselves from chemicals tumbling in water
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The chemically controlled chains reveal an ultrastrong attraction between electrons that may help cuprate superconductors carry electrical current with no loss at relatively high...

An illustration showing a 1D chain of carbon and oxygen molecules with red springs representing natural vibrations in their atomic lattice.
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Anchoring individual iridium atoms on the surface of a catalytic particle boosted its performance in carrying out a reaction that’s been a bottleneck for...

Alt text: Illustration showing surface of a catalyst as a lattice work of atoms, with single iridium molecules held above it on tiny 8-sided structures to facilitate splitting of water molecules seen floating above
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Their work aims to bridge two approaches to driving the reaction – one powered by heat, the other by electricity – with the goal...

A ball-and-stick illustration of a single nickel atom (green) bonded to nitrogen atoms (blue) on the surface of a carbon material. The arrangement allows the nickel atoms to catalyze two types of reactions involved in making fuel from CO2.
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Nickelate materials give scientists an exciting new window into how unconventional superconductors carry electric current with no loss at relatively high temperatures.

Illustration showing nickelate and cuprate superconductors as cartoon characters that are either close friends holding hands or neighbors talking over a fence.
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Measuring the process in unprecedented detail gives them clues to how to minimize the problem and protect battery performance.

Illustration of oxygen atoms leaving a lithium-ion battery as lithium flows in alongside a battery whose energy is being sapped by this process
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From the invisible world of elementary particles to the mysteries of the cosmos, recipients of this prestigious award for early career scientists explore nature...

Panofsky fellows
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Edward Hohenstein, Emma McBride and Caterina Vernieri study what happens to molecules hit by light, recreate extreme states of matter like those inside stars...

Early Career Awardees 2021
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With a new suite of tools, scientists discovered exactly how tiny plate-like catalyst particles carry out a key step in that conversion – the...

Illustration of nanoscale catalyst particles.
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It’s an example of how surprising properties can spontaneously emerge in complex materials – a phenomenon scientists hope to harness for novel technologies.

Illustration of a 2D superconducting state emerging in a 3D superconductor